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Kaimeju 12-11-2013 08:02 PM

How do you tactfully offer to revamp a website?
The rescue that I sometimes do transports for has a website, but it is pretty awful. I work in IT and I know I could make it 50x better in one afternoon, but I'm not sure how to approach the matter. I have mostly talked with people online since we are all dispersed across Eastern WA, and have only met two of the rescue staff in person. I am not entirely sure who runs the website, but I think I know who does the Facebook page.

I want to make sure that I'm not going to offend some really sweet volunteer who spent hours and hours trying to learn HTML and built the site by hand or something. Not sure if I should just let it be, or how I should offer to help. Any ideas? If this just sounds like a bad idea, I'm open to that possibility as well.

Merciel 12-11-2013 08:34 PM

Shoot a pm to whoever does the Facebook page (or any other semi-senior volunteer with whom you have a good rapport and contact information) and basically send them exactly the same post you've written here. If you have a list of specific things you'd like to improve and can express that diplomatically (which I have no doubt you can, because you're good at that), it might be worth including those as concrete indicators of what you would like to change.

Most rescues have super awful websites. It's been a pet peeve of mine for months because my rescue's website is terrible and the guy who revamps it keeps making it worse with each new iteration, and instead of updating the pages he just deletes them and puts in new ones with different URLs so all my form letters to adopters get messed up (and of course the guy never tells me when he's changing stuff) and it's just like ARGH WHY WHYYYYYY

sorry, got a little sidetracked there

Anyway: IT people are rare and precious in rescue. Heck, ANY skilled volunteer is rare and precious, but IT people are particularly hard to get. If you have a talent, god knows they need it, and they ought to be jumping in gratitude that you're offering to help with a marketable skill for free.

If they're not, well then, the fault is not yours for offering.

edit: well okay maybe don't call the website "awful" (even if it is), but express that it would be very little trouble for you to do a revamped version and there are specific things you'd like to alter ("X version would be more visually inviting/easier for prospective adopters to navigate because Y reason") but you really don't want to offend anyone who might have worked hard on the current version.

LifeofRiley 12-11-2013 08:41 PM

Yeah, I agree with Merciel, I highly doubt they would be offended by your offer to volunteer services!!! Most of the time rescue websites are horrible because they don't have someone on hand who really knows what to do but they still have to do their best to get something up and running... they would probably be the first ones to tell you it could be a lot better! : )

If you are concerned about hurting feelings, I would just tell them that you are willing to volunteer your expertise if needed... chances are they will jump on it right away!

nikon22shooter 12-11-2013 09:19 PM

I have a degree in graphic design. Trust me, I feel your pain with 90% of websites I go too.

I've bartered a few times for redoing their sites. Heck, it's how I got my last GSD haha

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